Thursday, July 11, 2013


On the night Wendy Davis stood up in the Texas Legislature, I happened to check Twitter just as I was about to try to sleep for a couple hours.
I had been helping my daughter pack for camp and we had to leave before the sun came up.
I never did sleep that night. I watched the last couple hours of the Texas session, switching between the live video feed and Twitter. I periodically checked major news sites to see what they had. It was stunning. I continue to be amazed at the growing spread between who is covering live news and who is not. It almost hurts.
I understand that we are in the midst of a shift.
Used to be, commercials paid for TV, which you could pick up with a set of rabbit ears perched on your TV set in your living room.
Now, I have a TV in a box in the cellar.
I won't pay for cable and I won't live without an Internet connection.
But newspapers and news wire services are supposed to cover news. I work at a newspaper.
I keep my eye on Twitter all night because it will tell me what I need to know.
You can't trust most of what you see, but if something happens, Twitter will set you off asking the right questions in real time.
You can click on those news sites to see what they've got.
Click again.
That happened earlier today when there was an explosion in NYC and my partner was in Manhattan.
Nothing on the news sites. Twitter gave me what I needed to know.
At least one thing social media has taught us is that many humans want to communicate.
A paid news staff is essential to knowing what is going on in government and to putting things in context. Democracy depends on that information.
Some of the major news sites are clearly putting their money into writing. I love that. I also want drop-dead fast coverage. It's what we can have and, to be clear, it's what we want.
Used to be, newspapers would print a special edition just to get the news out fast.
This week a letter came in the mail from my daughter at camp.
"Send me news updates," she said. "I can't be cut off from the world."

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